Lesson 72

Pentecostal Rest

"It is only as a result of our faith and trust that
we experience that rest . . ."
Hebrews 4:3 (Phillips Translation)

A part of the ancient Jewish Law required every fiftieth year to be a year of Jubilee (fiftieth anniversary). This meant that all those in bondage to their countrymen were freed, homes and lands were restored to their original owners, and the land was to lie fallow (that is, no crops were planted, giving the land a rest).

Leviticus 23:15, 16 (New English Bible) also speaks of a Jubilee day. This was the fiftieth day after the gathering of the sheaf of first-fruits, which was two days after Passover. It was a day of rejoicing and thanksgiving, later called Pentecost.

Just as the Jubilee year followed a cycle of seven times seven years, so the Jubilee day (Pentecost) followed a cycle of seven times seven days.

After Jesus’ death and resurrection, the eleven apostles were instructed to stay in Jerusalem until they received power from on high. These eleven were the Lord’s special representatives who would bring the message of the kingdom to others.

The eleven were in the upper room on Pentecost waiting in an attitude of prayer and expectancy and ready to fulfill their mission of "feeding" (teaching) Jesus’ "sheep and lambs" (those who would believe and follow the Lord).

Acts 2:7 and 14 seem to indicate that others beside the eleven were present, since they were accustomed to meeting with the apostles.

The Pentecostal blessing was the pouring out of the Holy Spirit upon those gathered, shown as a cloven (split) tongue of fire which "sat" upon the head of each disciple. With the rush of a mighty wind and the appearing of the flames, the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit! This was the beginning of the development of the church. Jesus had completed his sacrifice for Adam and now, because God had accepted it, his blood was to be used on behalf of those who will become the church.

The only thing the apostles did during the time they awaited their own acceptance by God was the choosing of a successor for Judas Iscariot. However, God did not recognize their choice of Matthias and later selected Paul.

These twelve will be the twelve foundation stones in the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:14) and no more would ever be chosen.

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